Delight in Kindy Kids Program's Randwick return

Funny Clown Doctors, pirates and yummy food are what four-year-old Aurora loved most about her day at the Kindy Kids Program.

This year has seen the return of the long-running Kindy Kids Program to Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH). The initiative brings together a kindergarten class from a local primary school with a group of third-year UNSW medical students for session of practice examinations, along with some food and fun.

The medical student buddy-up with the children to rotate through five stations, each involving a clinical examination. These include measuring and plotting the child’s growth parameters, measuring pulse rate and blood pressure, using an otoscope on throat and ears, examining gait and reflexes, and checking vision using a paediatric visual acuity chart.

Following the practice examinations, the children have a bite to eat and are visited by either the Clown Doctors or Captain Starlight team.

“I dressed up as a pirate. [The medical students] checked my ears and mouth. They also banged my knee and my leg moved, but it didn’t hurt. I ate popcorn, cheese and crackers, and after eating time we met two Clown Doctors – they were very funny!” Aurora said.

The Kindy Kids Program is led by A/Prof Sean Kennedy, SCH Department Head of Nephrology, Program Authority and Senior Lecturer at UNSW Medicine. The sessions are run by the UNSW Education team, with the medical students tutored and supervised by registrars and consultants from the Hospital.

Dr Louisa Churcher, Education Fellow at SCH, said it is a fun and educational day for all involved.

“For medical students, the program provides a valuable learning opportunity to engage with and examine well children, as well as practice tailoring their communication and examination styles to the age of the child," Dr Churcher said.

It means by the time students and junior doctors are interacting with sick children and their families in a clinical setting, they're already competent in performing examinations and interacting with children.

“Meanwhile, the kids are exposed to a variety of medical equipment and clinical examinations in a fun, interactive environment, alongside their peers and teachers. This familiarisation will hopefully help alleviate some of the understandable apprehension and anxiety they may have about hospitals and doctors for the future.”

The Kindy Kids Program was developed in 2007 and ran until the COVID-19 pandemic began three years ago. Dr Chercher said the team were delighted to see the valuable education program’s return.

“We're very grateful for the teachers and volunteers who bring the kindergarten classes, and of course all the kids who come along. It’s such a fun day for everyone!”